Clear skies & Silver linings

Summer

Versailles in summer

When I took this picture, it was a beautiful summer in Versailles, we were just sitting on this huge lawn, overlooking the man-made lake that was built for Marie-Antoinette, so that she could learn how to sail. My wife and I had just settled down on the lawn to have a snack and just watch people walking by, enjoying the sun and breeze.

This day was one of the most enjoyable times in my life, and I feel good whenever I’m thinking of it, or looking at the photos taken of the time. After the snack, we had rented bicycles to go around the lake, and just slowly moving around, stopping for pictures and just enjoying the moment there.

So whenever I’m feeling down or stressed out, these photos are a reminder to me. It isn’t a reminder that I need a vacation or time out, but a reminder that I know why I was happy at that particular time. The reason for feeling that way and how something simple like just relaxing and enjoy being in the moment can be so uplifting.

Even though work and other circumstances can sap our energy and spirit, we should always take comfort in knowing that at some time in our lives, we have felt this peace, joy, comfort, happiness and contentment. It doesn’t need to be a vacation or holiday scenario, it can be in something that you do as part of your work, hobby or even simply going to the store. It can also be with friends, family or by yourself reading a book.

Strangely enough, even though I love sunny days and the hot dry weather (hate humidity), I love storms even more. My most relaxing time in my late teens and early twenties, was to sit our on our porch (covered of course) and watch the stormy weathers hit. The smell of the earth and damp grass, and the sounds of the rain hitting the roof shingles and the trees, provides a very gentle music punctuated by streaks of lightning and peals of thunder. All the while, I’m just sipping coffee and watching the rain coming down, trees with their branches just swaying with the blustering wind. It was like I was an audience of one within a huge orchestra that played on and on, until I had to refill my coffee. The book I brought out to read, forgotten, as I was too mesmerized by this performance before me. The beauty and magnificence of it all doesn’t distract me from the dangers of such as lightning and storm winds, rather I have more respect for what they are capable of doing.

Where does this play in happiness and contentment? Well, circumstances will vary from people to people, but we are all capable of taking joy and being at peace in any environment. We just need to know and respect the situation we’re in, capabilities of the environmental effects on us, and determine how to react to it and find what joy can it bring us.

An example is the desert, it is a hot, bleak and dry environment with minimal to no coverage, and sand that can get everywhere. The desert is also a beautiful and surreal environment, where the clarity of the skies is a stark contrast to the gold of the sand. The sounds you hear in the desert is remarkable in it near silence, dominated by the sounds of rushing wind and the flap of your clothes in the wind. It is a place where you can clear your mind of distraction and just focus on the sun, sand, the heat haze on the horizon clearly defined by the contrasting sand and skies, as well as other minute details that would transfix your eyes. Your senses are alive in such an environment, where every sense is actually performing at its most sensitive. The air is dry and scents can be washed out by the smells from whatever vehicle or creature that you’ve used for transport. The wind swirls and moves your hair and clothes around, causing patterns to be formed in the sands, and creating dunes and eddies that are fascinating to behold. I can stay in one location for hours and have my eyes drawn to how the dunes and swirls of sand are moved around creating their own beautiful patterns.

The only constant in all of this is you, how you react to your environment is dependent on what do you want to get out of it. If your purpose is to get something positive, enriching to you and your senses, then it will be a rewarding experience.

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